Simon's experience in the fashion industry has helped him become men's style director for luxury fashion retailer Matchesfashion.com
Why did you decide to work in the fashion industry?
I'd always loved music and clothes while growing up but it was while studying history of modern art, design and film at university that the penny finally dropped that I might be able to work for one of the many magazines I loved. I moved to London, did a Masters at London College of Fashion and started doing work experience at places such as The Guardian and Vogue. I then developed my CV and built up both freelance writing and styling work before taking a full-time role as assistant fashion editor at The Guardian where I worked for four years - here I had the opportunity to write features and report from London Fashion Week and style shoots. Working in fashion allows you to be creative in many different ways - this was always the pull of working in the industry for me.
Can you describe a typical day at Matchesfashion.com?
What I love about my job is that there is no typical day. One day I might be on an editorial shoot in a studio in London or on location in Paris. The next day I'll be interviewing a designer or writing a trend feature. I go to fashion shows to get inspiration for shoots which are used in our digital and print magazine, which is always exciting. I also work closely with the studio who style all the clothes for the online store. Then there are work events to plan, sales meetings to attend, working with the buyers and PR team on launches. It really is a brilliant mixed bag.
What advice would you give to those applying for a role in the industry?
I think the best way to stand out from the crowd is just to be yourself. Look prepared - if you've got an interview or a work placement you need to turn up and demonstrate that you've done some research and know the organisation/magazine.
What key skills do you need to get into fashion?
Initially you need to be patient and prepared to graft hard - getting your foot in the door is the biggest trick so you need to impress people with a brilliant attitude. You obviously need to have a good visual understanding and a creative streak but equally you need to be good with people - in fashion, it's often about teamwork, especially on shoots and in office based roles. You also need to be able to juggle lots of different things at the same time - fashion moves fast and you need to be able to keep up with the pace.
Do you have any advice for students aspiring to make it in this very competitive industry?
To get into the industry work really hard, do the groundwork, take on every opportunity that is offered, be open-minded and go the extra mile. Have lots of ideas – all the time. Soak up culture – art shows, film, museums, magazines, books. Set yourself mini goals. Create a blog. Experiment. Read.
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